Great Britain

The more time you spend in nature, the greater the benefits to your mental health

WHAT’S the one thing you can do right now to calm your mind? It sounds simple, but try going outside.

It’s something we’ve all come to appreciate in lockdown, and a daily walk is one of the habits we should try to hang on to as restrictions ease.

It’s not just about being active, which has huge physical and mental health benefits. But just being in nature can also boost your mental fitness.

A survey by the Mental Health Foundation found two-thirds of people said being close to nature made them feel calmer.

Almost half said it helped them cope with stress, while four in ten said it made them feel less anxious. But not everyone has their own garden and for millions in cities, the natural world can feel a long way away.

But it doesn’t have to be rolling fields, forests, hills to hike or beaches to wander along. We can all find a bit of nature on our doorstep.

It can be as simple as looking out of your window, going for a walk in the park or stopping, shutting your eyes and listening to the birds. The more time you spend in nature, the greater the benefits to your mental health.

Most important is to turn your phone off or leave it indoors.

Dr Zoe Williams

'Soak it all up'

Disconnect briefly from your busy online world.

When outside, be in the moment by focusing on your five senses . . . 

LOOK: When do we really stop and look? We’re so busy getting from A to B we don’t appreciate what’s around us. Nature offers up unique repetitions of shapes, like blades of grass or leaves. Look for them, focus on wildlife and take time to soak up colours and textures.

LISTEN: Whether it’s leaves rustling, birds singing or, if you’re lucky enough to be by the sea, waves lapping, stopping to hear the sounds around you can be really relaxing.

SMELL: Take a few deep breaths in through your nose and think about the aromas hitting you. At this time of year you can smell flowers blossoming and freshly cut grass.

TOUCH: If safe to do so, take off your shoes and socks and think about how the ground feels. Get those toes wiggling in the dirt.

TASTE: Stick with me here! It’s not unusual to be able to taste the scent of things like flowers and trees in the air. And it won’t hurt to grab a blade of grass and give it a taste.

Whatever your surroundings, get out and soak it all up. If there’s one thing you do this week, as a GP I prescribe at least ten minutes outside in nature. Give it a go.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge call for openness around mental health as Harry takes big bucks job

Football news:

Argentina coach: Messi is tired, but continues to make a difference. It is difficult not to count on him
Van der Vaart is clearly visible in the photo where Iniesta scores the winning goal in the World Cup final. Koke about the criticism from the ex-player of the national team of the Netherlands
Gary Neville: Kane will break all England records. You can't just remove the captain from the squad after two matches
UEFA may prohibit the use of rainbow lighting at the Munich stadium during the Germany - Hungary match
Martinez about Eden Hazard at the start of Belgium: Now we must wait for his goal kick
De Bruyne on Belgium at the Euro: It will be different in the play-offs. I made a mistake-you're going home
Angelovski leaves the post of coach of North Macedonia. The national team lost all 3 matches at the Euro